As I have done a lot of video production in churches and events, I often get consulted about a good solution to start worship houses video production and live streaming to youtube and Facebook. Today we are going to talk about what I believe to be the most cost-effective solution/switcher for live production and live streaming for worship houses and events, Blackmagic Atem Mini pro. (Assuming you have cameras).
Blackmagic Atem Mini pro is one of Blackmagic’s mini mixers series which was announced late 2019 and started shipping in May 2020. Blackmagic is an innovative company that has solutions for TV and video production at very affordable prices compared to other manufactures.
At 595 USD, Atem Mini Pro comes with 4 HDMI camera inputs, and one HDMI output, audio Mic/Line In, Ethernet port for live streaming, and USB type C out. It also comes with a physical interface for mixing and configurations.
Atem mini pro comes with 4 HDMI camera inputs, it has an internal converter/scaler that can take input from any camera with HDMI and auto-convert it to Atem’s configured format, unlike its big brother Blackmagic television studio HD which requires camera inputs to be of a specific format. This is a big deal as you don't have to worry about which camera to use, as long as it outputs clean HDMI you can use it with the mixer. it also allows input of laptop feed (HDMI) with auto conversion in order to mix video with presentations or presentation display during live streaming.
HDMI out port can be used to output multiview feed or program feed (mixed video) out depending on your needs, a typical configuration will be to use it as a multi-view so that you can monitor all cameras, audio, and graphics while switching, recording or live stream.
External Monitor multiview.
With mic inputs, you can choose to input line in from your main audio mixer, In that case, you will be able to broadcast and record clean audio which will make your stream/recording look more professional.
With USB type C, Atem mini pro allows you to record to USB media, like flash disks, mechanical hard drives, and solid states drives. With this option, you can record mixed footage in h.264 MP4 file. USB type C port can also be used to output video feed to a computer, where you can use it as a webcam, or stream the feed to different software and websites such as Facebook, youtube, zoom Webex e.tc.
Live to stream
Atem mini pro uses hardware instead of software encoding for live stream, This has advantages compared to other streaming devices that depend on software/computer for encoding, first, it removes a load from the computer to atem mini pro, second hardware encoding has minimal frames drops compared to software encoding when it comes to live-streaming. Live streaming is easy, you just choose a service in atem software control, if its youtube/Facebook, and copy the streaming key to atem software control, when you push on air button, then you are live.
Atem software control
Atem mini pro comes up with atem software control for Blackmagic switchers, which is a very powerful software. You can use it to create lower thirds, play media files to the stream, mix multi-channel audio from the cameras, green screen/chroma key work and if you are using Blackmagic design cameras you can control settings remotely from the switcher (ISO, Iris, and white balance)
One of the features that I wish the atem mini pro had, is a dedicated program out, instead of having one HDMI out which you can program for multiview or program out. But that's not a deal-breaker, as long as you can have a multiview, live stream through ethernet and record program mix via USB. recently Blackmagic came with a new product called a streaming bridge, which you can use to convert ethernet feed to back to HDMI, with this device you can leave atem's HDMI out port for multiview and streaming bridge for program out.
Atem mini pro is a powerful tool/mixer, for events production or worship houses looking to start an in-house production and live streaming. 4 camera inputs are more than enough when you are starting, and with the ability to record your mix, live stream through hardware encoding, integrate with Atem software control to create graphics, lower thirds, and control black magic cameras, this is a little mixer with powerful pro features. If you are wondering how 4 cameras inputs are powerful, you can watch below production on youtube. Aflewo 2019 where I used 4 camera mix.